Week 26! That means I’m already HALFWAY through!!! In some ways, it seems like I’ve been doing this forever … but in others, it feels like I just started. There are things I’ve intended to do along the way in addition to the weekly recipes. Stuff like reviewing cookbooks and sharing interesting mac & cheese facts (assuming there are any), etc. As it turns out, I’ve used cookbooks less frequently than I expected, thanks to Pinterest and Google and The Food Network app and learning the basics well enough to kind of experiment on my own. But I still hope to incorporate some additional features along the way.
Anyway, you’d think I would have had big, well-thought out plans for the halfway point, but this was yet another random “hmmm, what sounds good? Oh, look, I have cream cheese, I bet that would make a nice creamy sauce.” And that’s about as much thought as went into it. (HOWEVER! I already know what next week’s entry is going to be, because I’ve known pretty much from the time I started doing this what next week was going to be. It’s just different circumstances than expected.)
I was also making this at the same time as I was participating in my fantasy football league’s draft AND listening to an extra innings Mariners game (they won, WHOOP WHOOP!), so I was a little distracted. Every time I checked the recipe or switched over to the camera to document the steps , I got booted out of the Yahoo Sports app and had to rejoin my draft in progress. I barely got any of the players I wanted, so if my team sucks this year, I’m coming back and downgrading the ranking for this. (Of course, last year, I put a ton of thought into it and led my league almost the whole season … finished 12-2, in first place, and then lost both playoff games and came in FOURTH. ☹ So if my team tanks, it probably won’t really be the mac & cheese’s fault.)
Cream Cheese Mac
Adapted from Classy Cooking
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 2 ½ Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1½ cups whole milk
- ½ tsp. dry ground mustard
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- 4 ounces shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta for 8 minutes. Reserve ½ cup pasta water and then drain the pasta.
- Melt butter and stir in flour, whisking for 1-2 minutes.
- Add milk and stir to combine, then add mustard and garlic powder. Increase the heat to medium to medium-high, and bring to a simmer.
- Add the cream cheese and stir until melted.
- Add the shredded cheeses and stir until melted.
- Add the pasta and stir until thoroughly coated.
- IF NEEDED, add a small amount of the reserved pasta water to thin.
VERRRRY good! The sauce was much creamier than many that I’ve made so far, and the cream cheese also gave it an interesting tang. I had never tried the pasta water trick before, so even though the sauce didn’t seem overly thick to me, I added a few tablespoons just to see. I’m not sure there was a noticeable difference. This is very much a classic mac & cheese comfort food style and I think anyone who likes mac & cheese would find this very much to their liking. (And anyone who DOESN’T like mac & cheese is already a suspicious character, so why are you cooking for them?) Plus, it’s so creamy, I expect it will reheat well too.
- I roughly halved the recipe on the website I was looking at, but I made a deliberate choice to use the original amount of cream cheese. That could be why it was creamy enough that the pasta water wasn’t needed. It definitely paid off.
Posted August 30, 2020